Kenya Power buys poles locally to grow economy

Kenya Power buys poles locally to grow economy

Kenya Power has purchased 377,000 poles locally in the last two years to drive its electrification programme, this is according to a communiqué from the power company.

The poles were bought from more than 40 local companies involved in treatment of wooden poles and production of concrete ones, in support of the government’s “buy Kenya build Kenya initiative”.

According to a statement from Kenya Power, consumption of poles has surged due to ongoing projects that the Company has undertaken to intensify connections as well as upgrade the existing power network to improve quality of electricity.

“We are implementing a network upgrade program across the country at a cost of Sh10 billion which involves replacement of wooden poles with concrete poles, maintenance of way leaves through vegetation management, replacement of broken parts such as fuse carriers, extension of medium and low voltage lines and enhancement of conductor capacity to carry more loads,” said Kenya Power Managing Director Ben Chumo.

According to Kenya Power, the programme is expected to avail better and reliable power supply to Kenya Power’s 4.9 million customers.

Other major projects that have been undertaken by the Company in the last two years include the government-financed National Street Lighting program which involves rehabilitation of existing street lighting masts and installation of new ones. It will be implemented in 52 towns across the country at a cost of Sh7.6 billion.

According to the statement, some of the poles have been used to implement the Global Partnership on Output- Based Aid (GPOBA) programme funded by the World Bank to aid cheap connections, mainly in slum areas. A total of 1.14 million customers have been connected to power under the GPOBA programme since 2014.

Procurement of poles is expected to increase significantly in the next four years with the implementation of the Last Mile Connectivity Project (LMCP) which aims at accelerating electricity access rate in the country to 70 per cent by the end of next year, up from the current 55 per cent.

“Under the first phase of Last Mile, we expect to procure over 350, 000 poles,” said Dr Chumo said.

“The growth in customer base is part of our strategy to grow electricity sales and ensure the Company’s long term financial viability. We aim to connect over one million new customers every year going forward in order to achieve the targeted milestones,” he added.

Kenya Power says a total of 314,000 customers are targeted to be connected during the first phase of the Last Mile Connectivity Project that is funded by the African Development Bank.